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Posts Tagged ‘START Treaty’

The End Of The Arms Control Era – by Joe Shanley

Posted by M. C. on February 27, 2023

Joe Shanley

In his state of the union address on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of the New START Treaty, which limits the number of deployed nuclear warheads. “The Defense Ministry and Rosatom must make everything ready for Russia to conduct nuclear tests. We will not be the first to proceed with these tests, but if the United States goes ahead with them, we will as well.” The suspension is not a termination, and the choice to suspend rather than withdraw opens up the possibility for future reinstatement.

What is most significant is this marks the end of the last remaining arms control treaty between Russia and the United States.

As it stands, there are no existing written agreements between the two largest nuclear powers to limit their arms build up, launch time, and magnitude of destruction.

Below is a brief overview of the advent and demise of arms control.

Before The Treaties

Ever since the first atom bombs were dropped on Japan there were discussions of arms control in the new age of atomic weapons. The Baruch Plan of 1946 was an attempt to get an international coalition to regulate atomic energy and its failure resulted in the first arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Soviets obtaining the bomb in 1949 solidified the danger of the new rivalry.

We’ve come a long way from the “duck and cover drills” that were popular in the 50’s, where the fear was instilled in every child’s head as they all shot under their school desks at a moment’s notice in preparation for an atom bomb attack. That fear was not entirely unwarranted—the real threat of a nuclear war with Russia wasn’t just possible, it defined the cold war.

Mutually assured destruction was coined by Donald Brennan with the acronym M.A.D. to ironically describe the reality of complete annihilation by the attacker and defender in a nuclear war. But it wasn’t a joke—with the advent of ballistic missile submarines, it became a doctrine of our national security policy.


Duck and Cover: How one desk could save your life – Diefenbunker Museum %
A “Duck and Cover” drill in a public school, 1950’s

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